“This Time is Different” is the slogan for the official run-up to the next European elections. In May 2014, EU citizens will elect their new Parliament. The Parliament will, in turn, elect the new President of the European Commission, based on a proposal by Europe’s governments. For the first time in electoral history, Europe’s political parties will propose their candidates for the Commission President ahead of the citizens’ vote and the governments’ proposal—a move which may transform “second order” elections into a genuine contest over competing political agendas.
This event , co-organised by the UCL European Institute and the UCL School of Public Policy, brought together distinguished politicians and academics to discuss the process of candidate selection and its likely political and institutional consequences, before, during and after May 2014. Will the new way of candidate selection give voters a genuine choice in a pan-European campaign? Will this process, in turn, lead to the EU’s politicisation, as advocated by some and feared by others? Will it transform the role of political parties, both inside and outside the European Parliament? Will open, party political competition over the Commission Presidency change the relationship between the Commission, the Parliament and Europe’s governments, and swing the pendulum back towards supranational Union?
Fiona Hall, Member of the European Parliament
Simon Hix, Professor of European and Comparative Politics, LSE
Michael Shackleton, Special Professor in European Institutions, Maastricht University, and former Head of the European Parliament Information Office in London
Chair: Christine Reh, Lecturer in European Politics, UCL
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